On August 30, an Antonov airplane will take the satellite from San Carlos de Bariloche to the airport of Cayenne, in French Guiana, where it will be launched in mid-October. The first satellite made in Argentina by ARSAT (Argentine Company for Satellite Solutions) will provide with IP telephone, data, Internet and TV services the whole Argentine territory and bordering countries.
The transportation of the ARSAT-1 will start on Saturday 30. It will be moved by land from the headquarters of INVAP S.E. (Argentine state-owned applied research company) in San Carlos de Bariloche to the city airport. The convoy will include four trucks. One of them will be used to transport the satellite and the others to carry the technical equipment required for handling and testing it again in French Guiana.
The satellite, which is loaded into a container specially furnished for its transportation, will be embarked on the plane nose through a ramp, while the rest of the equipment will be loaded on its stern through rails especially set on the runway for the operation. The flight to the airport of Cayenne will be made in the Antonov AN-124, a Ukrainian plane chosen due to its cargo capacity, which is normally used to carry locomotives, fuselages and other outsized freight.
At the same time, a popular festival will take place at the Civic Center of San Carlos de Bariloche in which this historic event will be transmitted live on a huge screen for all the citizens. Besides, there will be shows and activities all day long for the whole family, organized by the national Ministers of Planning, Culture, Social Development, and Science and Technology together with the town council of San Carlos de Bariloche.
Matías Bianchi, President of ARSAT, emphasized that this is an unprecedented event in Argentine history: “We are closer to have the first Argentine telecommunication satellite able to provide with services the whole country. The project demanded almost one million working hours and a significant investment on the part of the national government, which proves the great commitment of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner’s administrations to develop the Argentine space industry and care for the satellite sovereignty of the country.”
The Antonov’s takeoff will be about 10 a.m. on Sunday 31, with a stopover in Ezeiza airport to be refueled. Once in Cayenne, the first Argentine telecommunication satellite will be moved by land to Kourou, a French Guianan city where is located the space center of ArianeSpace, a consortium formed by the French National Center of Space Research and all European space companies. ArianeSpace was chosen for being the most important and reliable space company of the world.
“This is the result of a big job made not only by ARSAT, but also by many institutions, organizations and companies without which we could not have implemented this unprecedented project,” Bianchi stated, and added: “The collaboration of the Ministry of Federal Planning, Public Investment and Services, the Secretariat of Communications, the Ministry of Economy and Public Finance, the Central Bank, the Insurance and Reinsurance Department of the Bank of the Argentine Nation, INVAP and the High-Tech Test Center (CEATSA, in Spanish), among others, was crucial to make it come true. Besides, as regards the satellite transportation, we have relied on the key effort of the Argentine Customs Service, the Airport Police, the Argentine National Gendarmerie, the National Highways Administration, the National Civil Aviation Administration, the Police of the Province of Río Negro and the company Argentina 2000 of airports management.”
In his turn, Norberto Berner, Secretary of Communications, underlined: “This policy is in compliance with the national government aim , which has been pursued since 2003, of defending our sovereignty. We are making history and helping place the country in the position it always should have had. We are proud to say that Argentina is one of the eight countries in the world capable of manufacturing this kind of satellites, and this is not mere coincidence but the result of a political decision.”
The final stage in the launching of the ARSAT-1 means a milestone for the country, since if the national government had not taken in 2006 the decision of manufacturing the country’s own satellites through the creation of ARSAT, Argentina would have lost the orbital positions allocated to it. Thus, it can be said that thanks to this decision Argentina has established its own satellite sovereignty.